BSc Module: Create an Electronic Crane


As the product design course is split into two Degrees, the students which chose the BSc course had to attend the engineering science lectures led by lecturer Gareth Loudon. The series of lectures began on a weekly basis in first term of second year, starting in late October through to early February. Our final assessment is on the 2nd of May 2014.

The subject of the first half of the lectures was Mechanical Engineering. We learnt about different aspects such as testing, stresses, machines and structures. For the second half of module we learnt about Electronics, ranging from different aspects such as coding, and circuitry analysis.

I think a majority of my course mates (and myself) expected to have regular theoretical lectures lasting for the whole 3 year degree. However that was not the case. Due to many of us previously taking A Level Design & Technology and Physics we expected to be able to apply certain areas of mechanical engineering to our practise. When we heard that if we changed to the BSc course during 2nd year we could attend these engineering science lectures. To our delight we did (80% of students changed from BA to BSc). I found that the engineering science module fulfilled and exceeded my expectations and furthered my knowledge. During the lectures we touched subjects many of us remembered from A Level such as the stress train curve, Young’s Modulus and equations like F=MA, yet we never thought to apply it to our practise. I think Gareth Loudon was supportive throughout the module as he was not testing us on our mathematical skills, he just wanted us to have a basic understanding of the teachings.

I found the mechanical engineering subjects easier to understand than the electronic subjects. I think it was because electronics is on a much smaller scale and examples are harder to think of. I also think that the mechanical engineering aspects will be easier to apply to my area of practise. Although I found the electronic subjects harder, I think in the long term it will be more beneficial to my practise as I overcame many obstacles in the learning process.

The final assessment of this module will take place on the 2nd of May, and the brief is…

To make a fully working electronic crane. The crane must lift and move 6 small matches from one area to another designated area. The crane must be on a stationary base and complete the task in under 5 minutes.

The equipment given to us was a breadboard, an Arduino Uno, 3 transistors and 3 motors.

Planning & Building the Crane


This is the “map” we must work within. The crane must sit in 50cm by 20cm. We must then move the matchboxes from the boat to the designated area which is 30cm by 20cm. Measurements not included in the illustration are

  • Distance between device area and storage area = 7cm
  • Distance from device area to match box area = 12.5cm
  • Match box area = 8.5 x 27.5cm.




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